Feb. 16, 2012
#2/4 DUKE (1-0)
#9/9 NOTRE DAME (0-0)
Saturday, Feb. 18 – 1:00 p.m. (ET)
Arlotta Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind.
Play-by-Play: John Brickley
Analyst: Jamie Munro
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SETTING THE STAGE
– The ninth-ranked Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team will open its 2012 campaign on Saturday at home versus No. 2 Duke. Face-off is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET) at Arlotta Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU/ESPN3. John Brickley will handle play-by-play duties, while Jamie Munro will serve as the analyst.
NOTRE DAME-DUKE SERIES HISTORY
– This will be the 10th meeting all-time between Notre Dame and Duke. The Blue Devils lead the series 6-3, yet the Irish are 3-2 in the last five showdowns. This is Duke’s first trip to Notre Dame.
– The two teams have met four times over the past two seasons. The Irish won both regular-season meetings, while Duke topped Notre Dame twice in the postseason, including the 2010 national title game. The Blue Devils captured a 7-5 decision over the Irish during the quarterfinals of the 2011 NCAA Championship at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
-This is the third straight season that Notre Dame has opened its season versus Duke. In 2010, the Fighting Irish produced an 11-7 victory in Durham, N.C. Last season, Notre Dame bested Duke, 12-7, in the Sunshine Classic in Jacksonville, Fla.
FANTASTIC FEBRUARYS FOR THE FIGHTING IRISH
– The Irish have won 14 straight games in February. Fighting Irish head coach Kevin Corrigan is 19-3 in the month of February during his Notre Dame tenure. The last February loss for Notre Dame was a 10-9 overtime setback to Penn State during the 2002 season.
IRISH IN SEASON-OPENERS
– Notre Dame is 24-7 all-time in season-openers, including an 18-5 record in the Kevin Corrigan era.
– The Irish have won a program-record nine straight season-openers.
– Last season, Notre Dame won its lid-lifter, 12-7, over Duke in the Sunshine Classic in Jacksonville, Fla.
– The Irish last dropped a season-opener in 2002, a 10-9 overtime setback at home against Penn State.
– Including this year, the Fighting Irish have opened their slate against a ranked opponent in 19 consecutive seasons.
– This will be the first time the Irish have opened a season at home since 2007.
ABOUT THE IRISH
– Notre Dame returns six starters and 18 letterwinners from last season’s squad that posted an 11-3 record and reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship before falling to Duke, 7-5. The Fighting Irish notched a 5-1 BIG EAST record to finish second in the league.
– Attackmen Sean Rogers (Sr.) and Westy Hopkins (So.) are back after each tallying a team-best 18 goals last season. Rogers’ 25 points were tied for the team lead in 2011.
– Senior Max Pfeifer is the top returning scorer from the Fighting Irish midfield. He tallied 17 points on nine goals and eight assists last season.
– Notre Dame’s defense finished the 2011 campaign ranked second nationally by allowing just 6.57 goals per game. Senior Kevin Randall returns as a starter in the close defense.
– Goalie John Kemp, a junior, is back between the pipes. Last season, he posted an 11-3 mark and ranked second nationally in goals-against average (6.60) and was fourth in save percentage (.602) en route to earning both All-America (honorable mention) and all-BIG EAST (second team) honors.
– Kevin Corrigan is beginning his 24th season as Notre Dame’s head coach. He has a 217-106 (.672) record during his Fighting Irish tenure.
A LOOK AT DUKE
– Duke opened its 2012 campaign last Saturday with a 16-8 home win over Rutgers. Senior midfielder Robert Rotanz led the Blue Devils with four goals, while junior midfielder David Lawson added three tallies. Junior Dan Wigrizer played 58:09 in goal and made six saves while allowing eight goals.
– The Blue Devils returned eight starters from last season’s squad that went 14-6 and fell to Maryland, 9-4, in the NCAA semifinals. Duke went 3-0 in ACC regular-season play one year ago.
– Head coach John Danowski is in his sixth season at Duke.
– Notre Dame head coach Kevin Corrigan is 8-9 against a John Danowski-coached team. Corrigan went 6-7 against Danowski’s Hofstra teams. The Irish head coach is 2-2 against Danowksi during his Duke tenure.
THE LAST TIME
– Notre Dame fell to Duke, 7-5, in the quarterfinals of the 2011 NCAA Championship at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The game was tied, 4-4, after three quarters and the Blue Devils outscored the Irish 3-1 in the final period to take the contest. Then freshman Westy Hopkins tallied a game-high three goals for Notre Dame. Fighting Irish goalie John Kemp made eight saves in the setback.
IRISH AGAINST THE ACC
– Notre Dame is 9-21 all-time against Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) teams. The Fighting Irish are 4-4 versus ACC competition over the past three seasons.
– The Irish went 1-2 against ACC foes last season. Notre Dame topped Duke 12-7 in the season opener, yet fell to the Blue Devils, 7-5, in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Championship. The Irish also suffered a 9-8 overtime setback at North Carolina.
FOUR IRISH PLAYERS EARN PRESEASON ALL-AMERICA ACCOLADES
– Four members of the Notre Dame men’s lacrosse team garnered preseason All-America honors from Inside Lacrosse. Junior goalie John Kemp was named to the preseason All-America third team, while seniors Kevin Randall (D) and Sean Rogers (A) along with sophomore Liam O’Connor (M/FO) were honorable mention selections.
KEMP ON TEWAARATON AWARD WATCH LIST
– Junior goalie John Kemp has been named to the watch list for the 2012 Tewaaraton Award. He is one of 73 student-athletes up for the award, which is presented annually to the nation’s top collegiate lacrosse player.
RANDALL TABBED AS A LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE
– Notre Dame defenseman Kevin Randall has been named one of 20 candidates for the 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the men’s lacrosse division. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
IRISH PICKED TO FINISH SECOND IN BIG EAST
– Notre Dame was picked to finish second in the BIG EAST according to the league’s 2012 preseason coaches poll. Syracuse was selected to win the league with four first-place votes, while Notre Dame received one first-place nod. Rounding out the order of finish was Villanova, Georgetown, St. John’s, Rutgers and Providence. Villanova had two first-place votes. Coaches were not permitted to vote for their own teams.
FOUR IRISH PLAYERS EARN PRESEASON ALL-LEAGUE HONORS
– Fighting Irish junior goalie John Kemp was selected as the BIG EAST Preseason Co-Defensive Player of the Year. Joining Kemp on the 2012 All-BIG EAST Preseason Team were seniors Kevin Randall (D) and Sean Rogers (A) along with sophomore Liam O’Connor (M/FO). Kemp and Randall both were unanimous picks. Notre Dame and Syracuse both had a league-best four players selected to the squad.
SENIOR TRIO TO CAPTAIN IRISH DURING 2012 CAMPAIGN
– Seniors Nicholas Beattie (A), Max Pfeifer (M) and Kevin Randall (D) will serve as team captains for the Fighting Irish during the 2012 campaign. All three are first-time captains for Notre Dame.
RANDALL SELECTED IN MLL DRAFT
– Notre Dame senior defenseman Kevin Randall was selected by the Charlotte Hounds in January’s Major League Lacrosse (MLL) Collegiate Draft. Randall was the first pick in the seventh round (49th overall selection).
– Randall is entering his third season as a starter on Notre Dame’s stifling defense. Last season, he started all 14 games and helped the Fighting Irish defense rank second in the nation by allowing just 6.57 goals per game. The Irish defense has finished each of the last two seasons ranked second nationally. Randall has played in 39 career games, including 33 starts, and has picked up 35 ground balls.
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS
– The Notre Dame men’s lacrosse program has achieved unprecedented success over the past few seasons.
– In 2008, the Fighting Irish hosted an NCAA tournament game for the first time in program history. Notre Dame defeated Colgate 8-7 in overtime.
– The 2009 campaign featured the Irish posting the first undefeated regular season (13-0) in program history before extending their record to a school-best 15-0 in the Great Western Lacrosse League tournament. Notre Dame fell to Maryland, 7-3, in the first round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament.
– In 2010, Notre Dame reached the title game of the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. The Fighting Irish fell to Duke, 6-5, in overtime.
– Last season the Irish reached No. 1 in the national polls for the first time in program history.
– Over the last five seasons, the Notre Dame defense has been one of the best in the nation. The Irish are the only team in NCAA Division I to finish in the top five nationally in scoring defense in each of those five campaigns. Notre Dame produced the nation’s top defense in 2009 by allowing a program-record 6.19 goals per game. The Irish were second in 2010 (7.53) and 2011 (6.57), fourth in 2007 (6.66) and fifth in 2008 (7.04).
– Since the beginning of the 2007 season (a span of 79 games), Notre Dame has surrendered 10 goals or more in a game just 10 times and the Irish defense has limited opponents to seven goals or fewer 54 times during that stretch.
– Notre Dame has limited foes to four goals or fewer 13 times since the beginning of the 2007 campaign.
– Notre Dame’s Gerry Byrne was named the 2011 Intercollegiate Men’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IMLCA) National Assistant Coach of the Year for NCAA Division I. The award was presented during IMLCA Convention in Baltimore, Md.
– Byrne instructed a Fighting Irish defense that finished the 2011 season ranked second nationally by allowing just 6.57 goals per game. The Irish held their opponents to seven goals or fewer 10 times during the 2011 campaign.
IRISH TO FACE ST. JOHN’S IN BIG CITY CLASSIC
– Notre Dame will face BIG EAST foe St. John’s in the 2012 Konica Minolta Big City Classic on April 1 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The contest is slated for 1:00 p.m. (ET) and will be the first game of a tripleheader.
– Duke and Syracuse will meet in the day’s second game, while North Carolina and Johns Hopkins will square off in the third and final game at MetLife Stadium, which is home to the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets. This will be Notre Dame’s first-ever appearance in the Big City Classic.
– Notre Dame will appear on ESPNU four times during the 2012 regular season starting with Saturday’s season opener versus Duke.
– Three of the four television appearances will be Fighting Irish home contests. Notre Dame’s home tilt versus Denver on March 18 at Arlotta Stadium also will be televised. The lone Notre Dame road game that will be televised is the trip to Villanova on April 21. The regular-season finale between Notre Dame and Syracuse on April 28 at Arlotta Stadium also will be aired on the network.
– Seven teams on Notre Dame’s 2012 schedule appear in the Inside Lacrosse preseason rankings. Duke (#2), Denver (#5), Syracuse (#7) and Villanova (#10) join the ninth-ranked Fighting Irish in the top 10. Hofstra (#12), Penn State (#18) and Drexel (#20) also are Irish opponents listed in the rankings.